Sunday’s game was no nailbiter. Hell, the weather hath more wrath than any of the action on the field. Both offenses were pretty messy, but that’s what you get when you try to play football in Tropical storm force winds and rain. Welcome to Florida guys.
But the good news was, the Bucs managed to pull out a W over the St. Louis Rams, bringing their season to 2-1. The even better news?… That’s already half-way to last season’s total number of wins.
The team that took the field Sunday was actually beginning to look like the Bucs of old. Their defense wasn’t the dominating one you recall from their 2003 Super Bowl appearance, but it was definitely a start. Rebuilding a team is never easy, especially when many of its marquee players have been dispersed throughout the country to various franchises. Sunday, however gave fans a bit of hope as they watched their once-dismantled defense shutdown the St. Louis offense, who has yet to find it’s running game, it’s passing game.. Hell, I don’t even know if they know what game they are playing. Derek Brooks and Ronde Barber are still the two leaders in the Bucs arsenal, but many of the rookies are beginning to step up and accept their roles and responsibilities. They’ve still got to work on getting quicker three-and-outs to gain better field position and getting more aggressive at creating turnovers and defensive scoring, but all that comes with time, practice, and game day execution. It’s when you get this level of confidence going that not only do the players start to believe, but the fans do as well.
As for offense, Tampa’s front line held up rather well for most of the day. Their tight ends and wide receivers also did a much better job blocking downfield, giving Tampa’s legs ample running room. The Rams on the other hand, just couldn’t give Bulger enough time to get the get the pass off, leading to three interceptions and a measly 116 yards. Granted the playing conditions weren’t the best for Sunday’s game, but come on: Have you guys EVER seen water?.. I guess that’s what happens when you become accustomed to playing indoors.
Next week the Bucs travel to Carolina and face their heated rivals the Panthers on their home turf. So far the Bucs only road game was in Seattle, and it was a pretty disgusting loss. One can only hope the momentum the Bucs have created carries them through next week and they continue to build on what they have accomplished these past two home games. With Delhomme still iffy after his brush with the Falcons this past week, Carolina’s offense is still pretty uncertain. They will however, try to use formations that create favorable mismatches for them against the young Bucs defense. It’ll be up to veterans like Brooks and Barber to keep the young crew focused this game, and help them stop the run.
So are the Bucs just on a hot streak?… Did Hell Freeze over??… Even the experts are scratching their heads as a team that was penned to be the joke of the NFC actually has people talking. They’ve got fans believing now, and a road win over Carolina would only build on the team’s rejuvenation efforts. Maybe the days of Pewter Power are back: but only time will tell.